UNI takes momentum into 'Big 4' clash with Iowa

CEDAR FALLS - After arguably the biggest win of the young season, the UNI Panthers will prepare for the game everyone has circled on their calendars. After a month since the season’s opening tip-off, UNI has a chance to face off against rival Iowa.

The two teams will meet Saturday in Des Moines as a part of the inaugural "Big Four Classic."

“I think that Saturday is going to be a great day of basketball,” coach Ben Jacobson said on Monday. “It’s an opportunity for all four programs to be in the same building, and it’s an opportunity for two very good basketball games.”

“We’re looking forward to the week and getting ready. We’ve got a tremendous challenge coming up on Saturday, and we’ll work hard to be ready.”

Due to final exams, the Panthers won’t get a full practice in until Wednesday.

“We’ll be looking at the games in the Bahamas to find the things that worked well for us and didn’t work well for us from an alignment standpoint. We’ve got to continue to work on our ball handling and ball security. If it wasn’t for finals week, we’d be starting much sooner, but they need that time for their finals,” Jacobson said.

UNI is 2-2 against Fran McCaffery since 2005 when he took over as the head coach of Siena – including an 80-60 win last year, in which McCaffery was ejected for a double technical foul.

“This would be the most similar to the Siena teams we played in terms of having the quality players in addition to the depth. That’s where the similarities come closer than they have last year or in the year before,” Jacobson said.

The Panthers face the Hawkeyes in game one of the double-header on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 1:30 pm.

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